“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear … “ Matthew 6:25
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Matthew 5:11
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:25
We could go on and on.
Jesus said love your neighbor just like you love yourself? Wow that’s tough. Over the years I have had some neighbors who were hard to love. Yet that is what He says.
Don’t worry about life. Come on. Who can do that? Sometimes I have things going well yet I still worry because they are not “perfect”. Yet Jesus says not to worry.
When people insult you, do you feel like you are capable of dealing with it? Can you turn the other cheek? Jesus says that is necessary.
And then the “losing and finding it” scripture. Talk about CRAZY! You have to lose your life in Christ to find your life? Yet Jesus says just that.
Now we are getting an appreciation of the title of our study—Crazy Love. To be a Christian is to be labelled as crazy by the people of this world. The reason, God asks so much of us.
Have you ever been around someone like Francis Chan? Someone who is extreme in his vision for what the church can do, someone who not only talks about sacrifice, but is perfectly willing to sacrifice, someone who inspires you to want more God, do more for God, grow in your personal relationship with God. His goal in life is to stretch himself and those around him.
Someone who realizes that enough is never enough.
Drives you crazy doesn’t it.
Adam and Christine Teske have written an interesting article for Relevant Magazine on Three Things I Hate About Jesus. It fits right in with Crazy Love.
The Christian life calls for us to do a lot that is challenging. First of all they say it is asking a lot for us to be able to put up with all kinds of people. In Matthew 13 Jesus talks about a farmer who plants wheat seeds in a field. But his enemy also comes and plants weed seeds. The farmer’s servants see the weeds and they ask if they should pull them up. The farmer says no: “While you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.” Jesus goes on to explain that in the parable, He’s the farmer, the wheat represents people of His Kingdom, the enemy is the Devil and the weeds are people of “the evil one.” Who wants to put up with people from Satan? Yet that is what Jesus says we have to do. Isn’t that asking a lot?
The Teskes write “While anyone can follow Jesus, it [must be] on His terms. Jesus didn’t leave any room to call Him a ‘good teacher’ or ‘a spiritual guide.’ He said He was the Living Water, the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Narrow Gate, the Good Shepherd, the Resurrection, the Way, the Truth and the Life (and that’s just in the book of John).” There is no room for us to pick and choose what we want to do and believe. The writers call this picking and choosing the “buffet approach.” Jesus is a “package deal.” You have to take the whole package, not just parts of it. Jesus says we have to do this. Isn’t that asking a lot?
Jesus said if I’m going to follow Him, I have to give up everything I have (Luke 14:33). He said that I have to deny myself, take up my cross (an implement of my own painful death) every day and then follow Him (Luke 9:23). Jesus must become greater, and I must become less (John 3:30). Wow, where is the room for me to be me? The Teske’s third complaint is that Jesus asks for their whole life. Yours too. Mine too. Come to think of it, that’s what those verses above mean. He wants it all.
Can we give our whole lives over to Jesus? Probably not, but He wants it anyway.
This study is going to ask tough questions of all of us Christians who “compartmentalize” our lives. You know what I mean. You have the Christian hat that you put on, on Sunday, and the rest of the week you put on your “worldly hat.” Pastor Chan will hold the mirror up to us and get us to see that is what we are doing and he does not like it.
We should not like it either.
Man this book is crazy!